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MC Couple Arrested for Breaking into Storage Units

Sheryl Eaton
(Photos Courtesy of the LaPorte Police Department)

Ralph Labarr
A Michigan City couple each face felony burglary charges for allegedly breaking into storage units.  LaPorte Police report they received a call of a burglary in process at Cedar Chest Storage, in the seven-hundred block of J Street, just before 9:30 Monday morning.  46 year old Sheryl Eaton allegedly admitted to police she had cut the padlocks off several units the night before and returned with her boyfriend, 52 year old Ralph Labarr, to remove the items because she needed money.
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Efforts to Cleanup Gary Continue

In the middle of a clean-up campaign in Gary's Roosevelt neighborhood, Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, Councilwoman Kimberly Robinson and a number of city employees took a time out Tuesday morning for a brief press conference.   It was during that conference at Roosevelt Park Pavilion that the Gary Police Foundation presented a check for 77-hundred dollars to go toward police programs and equipment.  Also representatives from Anew Youth Development Corporation discussed the one-million dollar they were awarded to fund it's Youth Build program.  According to the group, grant dollars help target at-risk students who have dropped out of school.
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Cooperative Effort Steps-up Drug Related Arrests

LaPorte PD
The LaPorte County Metro Operations Unit in conjunction with the LaPorte City Police Department and the LaPorte County Sheriff’s Office has been working tirelessly in the fight against illegal drugs in the La Porte area community.  Over the last 2 weeks Officers from these units have made 7 arrests for Heroin related offenses and more arrests are expected shortly. 

 According to a press release from La Porte Police Department,  the hard work of the combined agencies, along with tips from the community, is paramount in getting a handle on the drug issues being face. 
Without these agencies working as team and fighting these problems 24/7 residents would certainly be facing far more problems in the community. The department is 100% dedicated to the fight against illegal drugs and it vows to continue to aggressively fight this problem to help protect the citizens!  Every tip received is worked all the way to the end.  When a tip is made sometimes it takes several months of investigation before an arrest can be made. Investigators work these cases every day and they want to make sure that they get everyone who may be involved in these cases identified so that all the players involved are known. 
A single tip turn into the arrests of several dealers, which is why it is so important that we maintain a good relationship with our citizens. We always need the eyes of the public letting us know when they witness or suspect any type of illegal activity.  Please use any of the various ways of getting tips to us by calling 362-9446, using
our website www.lpcitypd.com, visiting our facebook page, all of which can be done anonymously.  
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NIRPC begins 30-day comment period Wed. in Gary

NIRPC Logo
The Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC) has begun a 30-day comment period for Amendment #1 to the 2014-2017 Transportation Improvement Program. This amendment adds regional transit projects in Lake, Porter, and LaPorte County. Amendment #1 is available on NIRPC’s website at www.nirpc.org.
Comments should be submitted to NIRPC Transportation Projects Monitor, Gary Evers in written form or electronic media at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or by mail to: 6100 Southport Rd., Portage, IN 46368. Comments may also be submitted on the NIRPC Public Comment Line at (219)763-6060 ext. 160.
The public will also have the opportunity to provide comment on Amendment #1 at the following three public open houses:
·        Wednesday, August 21, 2013 1:00-4:00 pm, Gary Public Library, Kennedy Branch, 3953 Broadway, Gary
·        Tuesday, August 27, 2013 1:00pm-4:00pm, East Chicago Public Library, Pastrick Branch, 1008 W. Chicago Avenue
·        September 11, 2013 2:00 pm-4:00 pm, Valparaiso City Hall, 166 Lincolnway, Valparaiso
NIRPC is the Metropolitan Planning Organization and regional council of local governments for the three counties of  Northwest Indiana.  NIRPC provides the forum for local elected officials, regional, leadership, and citizens to address regional issues relating to transportation, the environment and community and economic development.  NIRPC
seeks to develop consensus solutions with the broadest participation.
For more information, please contact NIRPC at 219-763-6060. TTY users may call 711.
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State Grant funding to enhance School Safety

Indiana OAG Official Seal
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller encourages school administrators to apply for new state grant funding that will help fund School Resource Officer positions to enhance school safety.
Earlier this year the Legislature passed a new state law Zoeller had proposed and recommended, Senate Enrolled Act 1, which makes available $20 million over two years in matching grant funding to schools to fund a variety of safety efforts.  With the grant application process now open, Zoeller specifically recommends school leaders apply for matching funds to expand existing School Resource Officer positions or create new ones.  He noted that School Resource Officers are trained law enforcement officers who receive an additional 40 hours of certification in working with students in schools.
“Public safety is the number one duty of government and we must attend to public safety first.  I feel strongly that School Resource Officers are the most effective means of making the most schools safe for the most students given the funding available,” Zoeller said.  The Attorney General spoke this morning at a seminar in Wheatfield, Ind., on the Secured School Safety Grant Program where school officials learned about the grant application process.
Last year, before the Newtown tragedy, Zoeller’s office conducted a needs assessment study which found that school administrators and law enforcement officers around the state would be interested in expanding School Resource Officer programs if additional funding were available. Senate Enrolled Act 1 as passed and signed into law provides a total $20 million in matching grant funds over two fiscal years.
The grant program is administered through the Indiana Department of Homeland Security and application materials are found at http://www.in.gov/dhs/securedschoolsafety.htm .  The deadline for schools to submit proposals to DHS for the first round of grants is September 30, and Zoeller encourages school officials to coordinate with their local law enforcement agencies and apply. The first round of matching grants of up to $50,000 each is scheduled to be awarded in early November. 
“Schools that already have good working relationships with their local law enforcement agencies have expressed interest in implementing School Resource Officers to facilitate a safe environment for student learning, so I urge them to pursue this grant opportunity and apply soon,” Zoeller said.
NOTE: The executive summary of the needs assessment study the Attorney General’s Office conducted last fall is attached. A schedule of upcoming DHS seminars for school officials considering applying for grants is at this link: http://www.in.gov/dhs/files/2013_Secured_School_Safety_Seminar_Flyer.pdf
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WGU Indiana: 4th year of No Tuition Increase

WGU logo
As the cost of higher education continues to increase nationwide, WGU Indiana announces it will not raise tuition for a fourth straight year. The online university has kept its tuition at $6,000 per year since its inception in 2010, making it an affordable option for those looking to go further in their education.
WGU Indiana offers more than 50 accredited bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in business, K-12 teacher education, information technology, and health professions including nursing.
“Degree attainment is extremely important in today’s economy as college degrees play an instrumental role in helping working adults move forward in their careers,” WGU Indiana Chancellor Allison Barber said. “We are committed to providing an affordable, flexible education option designed to meet the needs of Indiana’s adult learners—another year of steady tuition rates will help us achieve this mission.”
WGU’s innovative, competency-based education model, which earned the university a spot in Fast Company’s 50 Most Innovative Companies of 2013, measures learning rather than the time a student spends in a classroom seat. Students earn their degrees by demonstrating mastery of subject matter, completing coursework online at any time convenient to their lives. Designed to meet the needs of adult learners, competency-based education allows students to take advantage of prior learning and experience to move quickly through material they already know so they can focus on what they still need to learn.
  To learn more about WGU Indiana, call 877-214-7014 or visit:  http://www.indiana.wgu.edu
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“Pack-a-Palooza” will kick-off United Way Event

Day of Caring logo
United Way’s Day of Caring is an annual event that celebrates volunteerism throughout the communities it serves.  This year, it will be held on Friday, August 23rd.  Lake Area United Way will be hosting a special volunteer activity during the Day of Caring.  This event, known as “Pack-a-Palooza”, will focus on providing food for residents who are experiencing hunger locally.  “Thanks to the generous support and partnership with Strack & Van Til, BP and Kids Against Hunger, we will be able to bring over 180 volunteers together to pack 50,000 meals in 3 hours to give to the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana for distribution, ” said Lou Martinez, President/CPO of Lake Area United Way.  “It’s a rewarding and effective way for the community to join the fight against hunger.” 
Pack-a-Palooza will begin at 9:30 at the Radisson Ballroom in Merrillville, and will anchor the kick off of the 2013-2014 Community Campaign.   “The Campaign allows for so much to be accomplished, right here in our communities.  Last year alone, over 170,000 lives were positively and directly affected as a result of the generosity of region residents and the success of workplace campaigns,” said John Kennedy, Chairman of the 2013-2014 LAUW Community Campaign and Director of Business Development for American Structurepoint Inc.  “Our goal for the Campaign this year is to engage 1,000 new donors and volunteers to join United Way’s efforts to advance the common good in our communities,” said Kennedy.  “Kicking-off the Campaign at Pack-a-Palooza highlights our emphasis on increased volunteerism.  It’s a reminder that everyone can play a part, and be part of the change.”   For more information on United Way’s Day of Caring and to find information on many other volunteer opportunities throughout Northwest Indiana, please visit: www.nwivolunteer.org.

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DNR campgrounds almost full for Holiday weekend

Indiana DNR
A limited amount of campsites at Indiana state parks and reservoirs remain available for Labor Day weekend, Aug. 30 through Sept. 2. 
Last-minute planners should make reservations soon before the campgrounds are booked to capacity.
Properties with sites left are: Charlestown, Clifty Falls (non-electric only), Lincoln (non-electric and primitive only), McCormick’s Creek, O’Bannon Woods and Versailles state parks; Lieber State Recreation Area, and Salamonie (primitive only) and Deam lakes.
A three-night minimum stay is required.
Reservations can be made at camp.IN.gov or 1-866-6CAMPIN (1-866-622-6746).
Not a camper? Consider a day trip for hiking, a family gathering or a swim. Check ahead with your destination for availability of swimming and hours of operation.
Remember to make reservations for fall camping. It’s one of the most popular times of year to camp.
“October has become like the busy month of July for our parks and reservoirs,” said Christie Wilmoth of the DNR Division of State Parks & Reservoirs. “With so much to see and do at our Halloween and fall festival weekends, you won’t want to miss out on all of the activities we have planned.”
Information on state parks and reservoirs is at stateparks.IN.gov. Information on programs and special events is at InterpretiveServices.IN.gov.

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Region Homes Sales Continue to Grow

GNIAR logo
Homes in the region in July marked the 25th month of consecutive growth in year-over-year comparisons.  The Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors reports homes sales for Lake, Porter, Jasper, Newton and Starke counties combined increased by 23-point-two percent from a year ago.  To hear more of regarding July home sales, click News Audio On Demand at http://www.regionnewsteam.com/

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Pence Travels to NYC to Meet with Bond Ratings Agencies

Gov Mike Pence
Indiana Governor Mike Pence is in the Big Apple today to showcase the Hoosier state's continued fiscal strength.  Governor Pence will be meeting with Standard and Poor's, Moody's and Fitch, in New York City, to share Indiana's plans for continued fiscal leadership and economic development.  The Governor says the state's credit rating is an important part of the fiscal foundation and the strategy to attract more jobs.

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